By Chidinma Promise
The 2021 T-shirt design trends represent a broad spectrum of artistic abilities and creativity that helped support individuals, communities, and social movements across the world. While it’s easy to say, “It’s just t-shirts,” these shirts provided people with a creative outlet where they could freely and safely express themselves. Through all of 2021, we saw our community create a powerful collection of t-shirt designs that remind us all that even something as simple as a cotton t-shirt could inspire change in the world.
Explore these 16 new t-shirt design trends for 2021 below to see how you can get the look for your next t-shirt creation.
- Book Designs
Books bind together our community in more ways than we know. Popularized by independent bookstores from all over the country, this design trend single-handedly helped support these businesses during the height of COVID-19 closures to ensure that they could stay open in new formats, pay employees, and continue to serve their communities.
- Strong Statements
Sometimes your t-shirt just needs to say what it needs to say, boldly and clearly. In a year where we have to keep our distance and limit in-person conversation, being able to stand for something without saying a word has led to an increase in these bold design choices. This popular design trend is especially effective if your apparel is advocating for a cause, political campaign, or social movement.
- Multi-Colored Words
Add a splash of energy to any text-based design by making the letters a variety of colors. The color palette that you choose for the letters will set the mood of the shirt. Keep it simple with a few colors in your palette, or go all out and make every letter a different color!
4. Tarot Cards
One of our favorite design trends this year is the use of tarot cards on shirts, with the artist’s own twist on this iconic design motif. With their unique imagery, symbolism, and aesthetic, tarot cards offer up a wide range of elements to draw inspiration from. This design style is a great direction for those looking for a symbolic visual representation of their message.
- Handwritten Typography
Bring a distinctive tone to your design with your very own hand-drawn fonts. Your hand-drawn letterforms can have a range of different moods, so it can be funky, retro, bold, or delicate. The flexibility and individuality you have when creating your own lettering makes it a great choice for almost any t-shirt you’re designing.
- Hand-Drawn Designs
Hand-sketched designs always hold so much character and importance. These textured, pencil-like drawings are a great design trend for the upcoming year. The crisp, detailed line work allows so much room to let your imagination flow.
- Warped Text
Distorted text is the perfect way to make your plain text stand out on your t-shirt. There are endless possibilities with warping! You can even throw it way back to the ’70s with a wavy retro design!
- Doodle Artwork
There’s always room for more playfulness in your life, and in your wardrobe! Doodling can be done in any which way; thin lines, wavy lines, shapes of all colors and sizes, you name it. Let your imagination take over and then print it on your merch!
Take the typography in your design from ordinary to extraordinary by using arched text. Whether it’s applied as a full circle, or as a partial-circle, adding a curved effect to the text in your design is an easy way to enhance the quality of your shirt’s design to make it a must-have for your community.
- Bendy Bodies
Give your design some personality by adding bendy figures to your design. Typically hand-drawn and paired with bright colors, these playful characters are a great way to flex your creative muscles and present human figures with a little added personality.
- Hand Illustrations
Hands have the ability to tell so many stories, literally and figuratively. Sign language and hand symbols are a direct, yet silent way to communicate your message in your t-shirt design. On the other hand, -haha, get it?- you can also use them to show a sense of community, companionship, and connection.
- Clean and Simple Text
Make a statement with your shirt design by using a sharp typeface that is clear and easy to read. This design trend was frequently used on awareness and advocacy shirts to help the creator of the design get their message across to anyone who sees it.
- Illustrative Figures
As digital drawings become more and more popular, these illustrative portraits have become a go-to design idea. They bring the perfect amount of personalization and playfulness to your t-shirt. You can choose to style this as abstract or as realistic as you’d like!
Say it a little louder for the people in the back. Repeating your message is a surefire way to get your point across. It will make the desired impact, and result in a well-designed shirt at the same time. This t-shirt design idea is perfect if you aren’t super design-savvy, but still want to create a trendy tee on your own.
- Animal Portraits
From animal rescues and wildlife organizations, to famous pet celebrities, animal portraits continue to be a popular design choice and a top trend for custom apparel. We love this design trend due to how versatile it is. You can feature your animal on the shirt by using a simple line drawing that outlines its body and a few facial features, or, you can get super detailed to match its unique personality.
- Flipped Text
Give yourself a reason to take a stunning mirror pic by using the flipped design and typography effect. This design style is a creative twist on the repeating text design trend and is just as easy to create.
Culled From: Blog Bonfire